Home HISTORY FORM 2 Feudalism.



Was the third mode of production but the second in exploitation of land. Feudalism is derived
from the Latin word feudum which means a piece of land; it’s so because this mode of production
was largely based on land as a major means of production. According to Marxist feudalism came
from the womb of the slavery mode of production because it bases on exploitation of the lower

Features of feudalism.

Feudal rent:

The feudal lords exploited the peasants through the payment of rent. This was paid
in kind and in labour.

Private ownership of productive forces:

Thisincluded land, tools, cattle and women who were
privately owned by feudal lords

Agriculture became the major economic activity:

Following the discovery of iron technology
productive forces were improved drastically

A Prognostic social class:

This was based on exploitation of one class i.e. feudal lords of tenants
or peasants.

Direct subordination of the lower social class to the upper class of feudal lords.

Division of labour and specialisation:

Basedon gender and age.


Created as a means to determine one’s position in society according to birth, it
determined who became a leader and who a subject.

Improved productive forces:

Especially tools applied in agriculture and military warfare, this
was brought about by iron technology.
Generally, African kingdoms such as Buganda and some forest states of West Africa, used
means of production centered around either land or livestock-especially cattle-peasants could use
the land freely but they were required to pay rent.

How Production was Organised under Feudalism.

Under the feudal economic system, production was organised within the kingdom; people
organised their activities on the basis of extended families. Each household head was responsible
for the organisation of labour in his family based on social and material requirements. Labour
was organised on the basis of age, gender and specialization.

The Merits and Demerits of the System of Power Sharing under Feudalism.

Merits of feudalism.
  • The rich supported the poor with food during drought and famine.
  • There was peace in the state as the rich classes maintained law and order
  • The societies were highly stratified, with each class of people knowing their
    positionknowing their position and role
  • Everyone had a means of earning the living because the landowners gave all poor
    peoplein the society a piece f land to cultivate.
  • The weak people in the society were protected by the king or the rich landowners
    forexample among the Rwandese, the Tutsi had an obligation to protect their tenants theHutu.
Demerits of feudalism.
  • The rich exploited labour force of the poor
  • Only a few people in society owned land
  • There was inequality in society between the rich and the poor
  • The peasants were forced to undertake military duties and endanger their lives for their
    land lords
  • It encouraged inter-community warfare as landlords fought in order to increase their land
    and vassals

Basic assignment.

1. Explain the term social organisation and production
2. Identify the types of social organizations and production that existed in Africa up to
the19th century
3. What is communalism mode of production?
4. Identify the characteristics of communalism
5. Show examples of the societies that had communalism up to the 19th century
6. What is slavery and slave mode of production?
7. Explain the features of slavery in Africa
8. Show areas where slavery was practiced in Africa
9. What is feudalism as mode of production?
10. Explain the characteristics of feudalism
11. Show societies in east Africa that had feudalism up to the 19th century
12. Explain the feudal relation (forms of feudalism) that existed in the following areas.i)
Interlacustrine region of Lake Victoriaii) Indian Ocean coast of East Africa.


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